Swimming is a great sport for everyone
Swimming isn’t just a great way to cool off on a warm day. It’s also one of the most popular sports in Australia – and it’s easy to understand why. Our country is surrounded by water, and we’re blessed with a richness of beaches, pools and water sport facilities. Swimming is one of the great Aussie pastimes, and it’s a fantastic way to stay fit, healthy and make new friends. Whether you’re young or old, fit or unfit, healthy or unwell – swimming can benefit everyone.
What are the health benefits of swimming?
- A great cardio sport that gets your heart rate up.
- Low impact sport with reduced stress on your body. You can do it regularly without risking injury.
- Builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
- Tones and builds muscles and strengthens joints.
- Helps maintain a healthy body weight.
- Stimulates your metabolism.
- Burns high numbers of calories.
- Contributes to a healthy heart and lungs.
- Can help balance blood pressure.
- Uses all of the muscles in your body, providing a good all-over body workout.
- Improves flexibility, posture, balance and coordination.
- Improves symptoms of asthma by increasing lung capacity and breathing control.
- Can improve the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies.
- Lowers diabetes risk by decreasing blood glucose levels.
- Is suitable for people with arthritis, musculoskeletal or weight limitations.
- Boosts the immune system.
Are there any other benefits of swimming?
- Provides mental health benefits such as alleviating stress, decreasing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
- Being in the water can be very calming and peaceful.
- Can provide low-impact therapy for many conditions and injuries.
- Is a pleasant way to cool down.
- Provides a way to meet and interact with like-minded people.
- Promotes a strong work ethic and levels of dedication and commitment.
- It’s anti-ageing, and can cut the risk of death by nearly 50% according to studies.
- It’s fun!
- Can promote family interaction and togetherness.
Exercise is the best antidepressant – click here to learn more.
Different ways to add swimming to your life
Whether you want to swim sprint distances or endurance events, or just for fun, there’s a way anyone can incorporate swimming into their life.
Swimming for fitness
Swimming is a wonderful recreational activity for people of all ages and levels of fitness, and you can participate in it to whatever level you desire.
If you want to take it up a notch, there’s always the option of competitive swimming. You can swim competitively as a younger person and also as a masters athlete, covering distances from 50m to many kilometres in open water swims. You can choose your stroke too, from freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.
Long distance swimming
If endlessly swimming up and down a pool doesn’t float your boat, there’s always the option of long-distance swimming. You’ll usually need to live near an open water area, and you can swim 5, 10 or 25 km events – or even the English Channel if you so desire!
Aqua aerobics or water running
No longer just the province of older ladies, aqua classes these days can give you a great workout that gets your heart pumping while also being fun.
Click here to discover why exercise is no longer optional for older people.
How much will it cost?
Swimming is one of the most easily accessible sports around – and it doesn’t cost a fortune. You need minimal gear to swim, and entry to a public pool usually only costs you some spare change.
Naturally, this is different for competitive swimmers, where the cost of lessons, regular training and specialised swimming suits must be factored in.
What you need to start swimming
Swimming is great in that it doesn’t require a lot of equipment or preparation. Of course, you’ll need access to a pool, and there are hundreds of public pools available throughout Australia. Here’s what else you’ll need to get started:
- A comfortable and supportive pair of swimmers that won’t fall down in the water.
- Swimming cap.
- Flippers (not entirely necessary, but useful). Many pools have these available for hire.
- Earplugs if water in your ears is a problem.
- Sunscreen if swimming outside.
- A few dollars for entry to a public pool or aquatic centre.
- A swimming lesson or two to streamline your technique.
Get correct technique
If you’re new to swimming or haven’t swum in years, it’s worthwhile having a swimming lesson or two from a professional before getting started. Swimming with the wrong technique can sometimes lead to overuse injuries over a period of time. Spend some time getting your form right and then you’ll be able to safely enjoy swimming for years to come.
Get prepared for your swim
Before you start swimming, here are a few things you should do first:
- If you’re very unfit, overweight or older, it’s wise to consult a doctor before starting a swimming program of exercise.
- Slather on the sunscreen.
- Warm up and stretch your muscles and joints before getting in the water.
- Drink plenty of fluids, both before you start and while you’re swimming.
- If you’re not taking a swimming class or participating in a swimming program, have a plan for what you want to achieve. Don’t just swim mindlessly up and down – set a goal, change up what you’re doing, and aim to achieve it.
- Take it easy to start with, especially if you haven’t swum for a while. You don’t want to overdo things right at the start and cause yourself an injury.
Join a swimming class or group
If you want to take your swimming to the next level, investigate swimming classes or groups at your local pool. This can help you get maximum bang for your swimming buck, and maybe learn something new while you’re at it.
Getting into the pool may be hard, but once you’re in, the effort will be worth it. Swimming can really add to the quality of your life and provide you with some wonderful benefits.
Bennett’s stocks a wide range of products that can help you get started on your swimming journey. Click here to have a look.